Balancing across the scoop
© Oceanwall, Sep 2008

The Alf Bridge Challenge ticklist

contributed by cheque Jul/21

A bogtrotting and soloing challenge from 1927. As well as the 13 routes you’ve also got roughly 70 miles (gulp) on foot. Some of Bridge’s original route has reservoirs, roads, quarries and the like built on it nowadays but with modern gear, planning etc. it should be possible to do it in less than his roughly 32:30 time!

“In an effort to do something new, Alf Bridge set out straight from work one Saturday lunchtime. His plan was to make a climbing and walking circuit of the Peak, beginning at Greenfield and finishing at Chinley. Wearing gym-shoes, and with only a Primus and food in his rucksack, he strolled over the usual track to Laddow and climbed North Wall, Long Climb and Cave Indirect before being driven off by midges which pursued him all the way down to Crowden. Some friends were gathered in a tea place there and he felt reluctant to leave them, but presently set off up Wild Boar Clough and across the wastelands to the head of the Derwent and Slippery Stones. A meal of biscuits washed down by a brew of cocoa fortified him for the journey down to Ashopton and the long pull up to Stanage End via Jarvis Clough, but by the time he got to High Neb an empty feeling in his stomach made the best possible excuse for an early breakfast. Feeling stronger again he climbed Norse Corner and Tango Buttress, then wandered along the top of the edge, resisting the temptation of the excellent bivouac in Robin Hood’s Cave.

His next objective was to Cratcliffe. At last the distance was beginning to register, for he confesses that this next stretch seemed a very long way. In fact it was 12:30 p.m. before he reached the Tor, approximately twenty-four hours since he had started from Greenfield, during which he had very little sleep.

After a quick lunch and a rapid ascent of Hermitage Crack and Giant’s Staircase (two of his favourite climbs) he walked across to the twin towers of Robin Hood’s Stride and climbed the Weasel Pinnacle. It was now time to plod on to Castle Naze, a section of country where the route lies across dry limestone Dales. Traversing this long and rather tedious stretch all through the afternoon of a hot day. Bridge found it “sheer purgatory”. It was 6:30 p.m. before he arrived at Castle Naze and gaze down at the promised land of Chinley. The A.P. Chimney (the letters stand for Absolutely Perpendicular) seemed much harder than usual, and blistered heels forced a gingerly tread across the Scoop. For the final climb of the weekend he had planned to do the Castle Naze Crack but realised that in his worn-out condition it was beyond him, so instead he struggled wearily up the safe but clinging cleft of Deep Chimney.

The last lap to Chinley for the 9.06 p.m. train home was literally a stagger.”

-Eric Byne & Geoffrey Sutton, “High Peak: The story of Walking and Climbing in the Peak District”, 1966.

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Map of routes in this ticklist

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Note: Only showing summits, scrambles, winter routes, and low grade climbs

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Add Climb name Grade Ticks? Height Crag name
North Wall HS 4b ** 78 16m Laddow
Long Climb S 4a *** 323 35m • 2 Laddow
Cave Crack Indirect S 4a 7 20m Laddow
Norse Corner Climb HS 4c ** 2021 16m Stanage North
Tango Buttress HS 5a ** 2367 14m Stanage North
Robin Hood's Right-hand Buttress Direct HS 4a *** 3804 22m Stanage Popular
Flying Buttress HVD 4a *** 7140 24m Stanage Popular
Hermitage Crack VS 5a * 30 8m Cratcliffe Tor
The Giant's Staircase HVS 5a * 208 18m Cratcliffe Tor
Long Climb VS 4c * 9 7m Robin Hood's Stride
A.P. Chimney HS 4a * 143 12m Castle Naze
Scoop Face HVS 5a *** 1400 12m Castle Naze
Deep Chimney HVD 88 8m Castle Naze
22 stars 17,618 212m 14
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